Every community is resilient

Graphic asking 'Where are the neighborhood hubs where people come together?'

This spring, we partnered with one of our favorite colleagues Greta Byrum at the Open Technology Institute to facilitate neighborhood mapping workshops that identify and build communication tools with New York City residents. Workshops were hosted in collaboration with The Municipal Art Society of New York in both Queens and Staten Island, neighborhoods that were both hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Resident workshop

We call this game-like workshop prototype Every Community is Resilient. It's complete with cards, accessible language cues, and recognizable icons presented in a large format. With this exercise, we work with neighborhood residents to determine where potential physical hubs are located and how they can increase their community's connectivity. Participants also identify who may be left out of these critical communication hubs such as the young or elderly, as well as other challenges. Prompted by a series of facilitated questions, neighbors discuss myriad communication tools from the digital to the analog, the pros and cons of these tools, and how they might work in their particular situation.

Participants drawing an east shore map

This unique workshop structure reinforces neighborhoods’ inherent resiliencies by highlighting local resources, the people that already are connected, and the technology to which neighbors already have access. It demystifies the process of neighborhood organizing around fairly complex ideas.

Building off the foundational work we created for the Commotion Construction Kit from 2010 to 2013, we are very excited to continue our impact.

Try the workshop in your own neighborhood and send us your feedback!

Download the workshop materials.